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AAA offers reminders for drivers with more snowfall

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 9:36 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2022 at 9:40 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Virginia State Police responded to over 1,000 traffic crashes on Monday after several inches of snow covered the Shenandoah Valley.

AAA, local police departments, and first responders all ask the same thing during snowstorms: Stay off the road if you do not need to be out, but for those that have an emergency, or need to get to work, AAA offered advice for drivers.

AAA reminds drivers to give themselves plenty of time to get where they need to go.

Morgan Dean, with AAA Mid-Atlantic, said to bring down your speeds and increase the distance between your vehicle and the ones around you. He said the more distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, the more time you have to anticipate any issues up ahead.

If you are traveling on roads that have yet to be plowed, Dean suggests driving in the tire tracks of the vehicle in front of you.

“That will be packed down and should give you a little more traction. Be very, very careful about crossing outside of lanes,” Dean said. “That’s when you will sometimes hit that ice and snow that can cause you to lose control of the vehicle, so be very, very careful if you’re switching lanes and there is ice and snow on the roadway.”

Dean said the standstill that left some drivers stranded on I-95 for almost 24 hours is a wake-up call, showing drivers just how important it is to have an emergency kit in your vehicle.

“While the backup on the I-95 seems an extreme example, hours-long delays on winter roadways are not unusual,” Dean said. “These situations are hardly limited to the Northeast. We’ve seen the same from Georgia to Texas. Just a little bit of snow or ice can leave motorists stranded for hours on end.”

Previous AAA research shows that more than 40% of drivers do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle.

AAA Winter Emergency Kit includes:

  • Mobile phone and car charger
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Jumper cables or jump pack
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench, duct tape, plastic zip ties)
  • Tarp, raincoat, and gloves to help stay clean/dry working at the roadside
  • Rags, paper towels, or pre-moistened wipes
  • Warning devices (flares, reflective triangles, or LED beacons)
  • First-aid kit
  • Drinking water
  • Snacks/food for your passengers and any pets
  • Ice scraper
  • Snow brush
  • Winter windshield washer solvent
  • Traction aids (sand, salt, non-clumping cat litter, or traction mats)
  • Shovel
  • Warm gloves, clothes, hats, and blankets for all passengers in your car

Dean also suggests that drivers dress for the weather, no matter where they are headed. For example, if you are on your way to the gym in shorts and a t-shirt, still wear warm clothing. He said you can always take off a winter jacket once you’re in the car, but at least you have the supplies if you get stuck and have to wait for help.

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